I have written numerous times about ID and have gotten used to being blasted by evolutionists. I am still on an honest quest to understand the arguments of both sides better. I have been reading a number of blogs that are pro evolution and staunchly anti-ID. I also finished Francis Collins "The Language of God" in an effort to understand things from a scientist who believes in God but is staunchly pro-evolution. and anti-ID. I realize that his book might not be the top recommendation of some my evolutionists friends but it was on a fire sale table at Borders and became my book choice. :-)
Here are a few observations I have formed from my recent reading and thinking.
1. I seem to detect a growing furor and downright hatred of all things ID among evolutionists. I might be reading the wrong blogs but man, the hatred and vitriol is intense. Attacks on ID scientist's integrity, faith, intelligence, motives seems to be rampant. There is some response to this as well on the ID side. They are getting pretty testy as well it seems. For something that apparently is so obviously "stupid" it seems to me the evolutionists are scared, threatened, incensed or whatever. I may be wrong but it sure feels that way. Evolutionist's blog posts are mostly screeds.
2. I was not impressed with Collin's book. His arguments for religious belief and evolution did not satisfy me at all. He (and most other evolutionists) use bad logic in my opinion. If something can somehow be described (not proven in a lab mind you) that "could" have happened by natural, evolutionary means, it proves that it DID happen by natural means. Over and over, he describes how evolution could have created and assembled something "irreducibly complex" and then adds that this has never been been proven in a lab. Then the huge jump is made to say it DID happen that way. And thus, according to him, intelligent design is proved wrong.
I read and re-read what he wrote and I shook my head and said "this is really stupid!" There HAVE to be stronger arguments than what he makes! I was incredulous as he repeated this nonsense over and over. I was actually angry. I wanted something that forced me to say "hmmmm, that is a really good argument." But not once did I think this. His illogic seemed so evident and his admissions as to the lack of actual "proof" left me dumbfounded. Maybe I am just dumb. There, I said it for you!
3. Continually there is the attack that ID scientists are creationists, fundamentalists in disguise. Francis Collins' first argument against ID was that it was founded by a Christian Law Professor of Cal Berkeley, Phillip Johnson. I found that argument silly and certainly not scientific. Many ID'ers are believers, but not all are. If there is bias in ID, there is also bias with Darwinists who are mostly atheists/agnostics? Doesn't bias work both ways?
To me there is no flavor of the "creationism" in any of the ID stuff I read. I have read young earth creationism and I just don't see the connection. 35 years ago, I came to doubt macro evolution when I was not a believer. I don't believe ID in order to support my faith. I am not a fundamentalist. ID is not "appealing" to me because of my faith. I just cannot help myself when I see really cool design in all of life. Randomness does not do it for me. The more I know of how intricate the world is, the more I see design. It feels "natural" to me. It could not be any other way even though I do believe in micro evolution. I sure could be wrong but I have not seen or read much that convinces me otherwise.
4. I am attracted to design because of the logic and my sense of "likelihood." The intricate complexity we all observe seems so incredibly unlikely to have just been a lucky stroke. A long series of extremely lucky strokes! I realize that statement is not particularly scientific, but it describes what I think and feel.
I can see how a random mutation can change something. Both sides admit that more often than not, that change is negative. I also know that DNA's replication system is extremely faithful. Random mutations happen but they are pretty rare especially in a small population. I then reason that all of these random mutations happened relatively simultaneously and somehow an intricate flagellum comes from nowhere. Collins confidently explains how scientists have now found parts similar to the parts of a flagellum which "could" have been the parts that natural selection used to build a flagellum. Since it could have, it did! ID is wrong because design can be explained by evolution (without any proof whatsoever). Evolution blindly created this amazing protein machinery, even though it appears highly designed. Scientists have debunked that foolishness by explaining how it could have happened. Isn't that compelling? Ignore the man behind the curtain.
There are many arguments/explanations how macro evolution "could" have happened via micro evolution. Then I consider the massive numbers of mutations which had to happen to build the machinery of the eye, ear, nose, mouth, tongue, arms, legs, liver, heart, lungs, kidney, testicles, ovaries etc. etc. All of these things had to be luckily happening at nearly the same time, with all the useful mutations being selected and kept. And other random creations had to happen in the vegetation and animal kingdom to provide something to eat. All these lucky breaks happening simultaneously. It seems so implausible to me. Nope, I cannot absolutely prove there was a designer but it seems more likely than not. I know of nothing that appears designed that was not designed. I know of nothing that appears designed that happened randomly. "Could have happened like this, therefore it did" is very weak and implausible.
5. Collins argues at length how "junk DNA" proves there is no designer. But he claims there is a God who did some unknown things to get it all started, but then mostly disappeared but will respond to prayer!
He is a geneticist who was in charge of the human genome project. Impressive. But his book is old even with a 2006 copyright. As I post here, it is now known that most of the human genome is NOT junk. Function is now being found for most, if not all of DNA. A whole section of Collins' arguments have to be discarded.
He also argues that ID cannot predict anything therefore is not science. ID scientists claim they did predict junk DNA would be found to be useful. This claim is disputed vigorously. But even if ID scientists did not actually predict it, ID would logically predict a designer would likely not produce something that is over 95% junk. The fact this argument is still regularly used to discredit ID, the new discovery should be evidence that ID may well be a scientific idea worthy of consideration.
6. Even if there are so called "flawed" (stupid) designs of a designer, seems everyone is ready to admit that the human body is pretty damn good. Shoot, look in Playboy and tell me you don't see something there that is pretty good, albeit with some intelligent plastic help. How did we end up so well put together? Anything I am aware of that is random is not very well put together. It appears, well, random! In fact, random puts nothing together in our day to day experience. Random design is an oxymoron.
It would seem we would find in the fossil record, near humans with one eye, both sex organs, an arm, an arm without hands or fingers etc. None of those are in the fossil record according to Collins. How come they are absent? I know it is hard for fossils to occur but it would seem some really weird stuff would be there.
7. I want to be clear that I am distinguishing between macro evolution and micro evolution. The latter I believe. The former I currently don't. It seems to me there is a huge leap of faith in most of what I read. What is obviously true about micro evolution somehow absolutely proves macro evolution simply because it "could." Collin's and others readily admit, macro evolution proof is not there. However, it is always assumed because micro is true, macro is also true. Since it COULD, it DID. This because "science" only accepts natural explanations by definition. Because complexity is what we have, and because micro evolution is true, complexity came from evolutionary means because in COULD. That is unsatisfying logic.
8. I am fascinated by Darwin's, and todays evolutionists failure to explain where the first stuff came from. The question of origins. Where did DNA first come from? How did non living become living? Conscious? Thinking? Where did the "stuff" first come from for random mutation and natural selection to act upon? A massive, unexplainable gap. No evolutionist will go there it seems. And yet this has to be the major question. Even geniuses like Hawkins are awed by what the Big Bang ended up producing. Us!! DNA is so inexplicable, evolutionists run home to RNA because it is less complex. If we can explain how RNA "could" have happened then science has proven how DNA DID arise. Coulda, woulda, shoulda!
9. It seems to me we are dealing with an issue that is as much about philosophy, religion, bias, conspiracy theory as actual science. On both sides. The only difference; evolutionists have the advantage of proven micro evolution. That is real science. Even ID readily agrees with that. Even Phillip Johnson agreed with that! I don't think anyone is arguing about that, though ID is often accused of being so stupid they don't even understand this. Common descent may well be an exception to this with some IDers. Not Behe though.
I think there are real, honest and scientific questions about the proven mechanisms of evolution being able to produce the amazing appearance of design. I think Behe raises very serious and well argued points in both of his books. Evolutionists create straw men, then angrily and happily destroy them. Then all pat each other on the back, congratulating each other on how friggin smart they are and how friggin stupid Behe and his ignorant cohorts are. As an observer, I note the logic of Behe, and the vitriol of his opponents. I note the lack of truly addressing his logic. When it is addressed, it is with coulda's. Other really great arguments are made like, "Oh yea, name one place where ID science is being done in a lab?" What a convincing argument! My dad can beat up your dad!
10. I think Collins needs better reasons to believe in God. Seems his staunch adherence to all things evolutionist leaves little room for real belief in God. His reasons sure would not convince me and I doubt he has convinced many other scientists. I suspect there is a lot more to his belief since he is a big fan of C.S. Lewis. I think he just did not want to go further out on the limb lest he be subject to even more ridicule than he and others of his ilk get from people like Dawkins etc.
I am glad I got to 10 so this post could be more symmetric and appear designed.